Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Two-Cents on 'Up in the Air'



I was initially hesitant to watch Up in the Air because so many critics were talking about how great it is, and how it's a modern masterpiece, and yadda yadda yadda.  I was afraid that the movie would be overhyped, and thus not live up to my expectations.  Kinda like Slumdog Millionaire.

While Up in the Air didn't reach the extremely high standard that I set for it, it did come awfully close.  Calling it a "modern masterpiece" is a bit too over the top, but it's a damn fine film, and it is one of the best movies to come out in the last couple of years.

The story itself is what makes the film work.  It follows a businessman who fires people for a living and how he lives his life devoid of any real personal attachments.  Sure, it sounds pretty bleak, but the satire about how we are living our lives, automated and detached, is nothing short of pure brilliance.  While the film looks at a singular man, his story and experiences are being lived by all of us across the globe, which is a little bit funny and sad at the same time.  It's easy to relate to Ryan Bingham even though most of us will never fire someone or be so isolated.  The start of the third act did lose some steam, and the big twist at the end was far from shocking, but overall it was a really solid story.

While the plot was excellent, the performances were good but not great.  George Clooney essentially plays George Clooney once again.  He's good looking, charming, flawed but lovable.  Pretty much every role I've ever seen him in.Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick both did fine jobs in their supporting roles, but they weren't anything to write home about.  To be honest, I'm a little surprised that the actors are getting so much praise.  Again, I liked their performances but they didn't floor me.

Jason Reitman deserves a lot of credit for co-writing and directing such a great film.  He's quickly becoming one of my favorite directors because this is the third movie (along with Thank You for Smoking and Juno) he's done that I've really dug.  I can't wait to see what the future holds for him.

So, as you can see I really, really liked Up in the Air, and I think everyone should check it out if they can.  If you're not quite sure what it's all about, just check out the teaser trailer...


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